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As a resident of St. James

As a resident of St. James AND one of the parents who brought their children to the "protest" yesterday, I feel the need to clarify a point made. The residents of St. James are very active in the community of Southport and Brunswick County. Many volunteer in the public schools as tutors, mentors, and in youth recreational activities. They volunteer at area hospitals, churches and skilled nursing facilities. The service clubs of St. James provide support (financial and otherwise) to MANY organizations throughout Southport and Brunswick County. Yes, they pay their taxes. Yes, they vote in elections. They should not be criticized for those acts. I sincerely doubt the events that have taken place leading to the construction of a senior citizen center on the site of the soccer fields are the result of the county commissioners "pandering" to the St. James residents. The residents I have the privilege of knowing would never support taking any organized programs from the area youth. At the heart of this problem is the fact that our elected, local officials are seemingly unable (unwilling) to develop a comprehensive plan to meet the needs of both populations involved. A plan for alternate soccer facilities to replace those being destroyed for the new center should have been developed months ago. The president of the soccer association should have been informed so the information could have been effectively communicated to the children/families involved. Instead, our county commissioners minimized the importance of organized youth activities by suggesting the baseball fields be converted into soccer fields. (Perhaps they'd prefer to see children in baseball uniforms protesting next time!) Have these individuals done any research on the correlation between crime rates and lack of organized/supervised programs for the youth of a community? Obviously they are capable of doing a better job. Hopefully they will get to work on a solution.

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